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How to "Marie Kondo" Your Home

September 27, 2019 — 5 min read

Did you know that recent studies report only 8% of New Year's resolutions made are actually achieved? Whether your goal is to lose weight or declutter your home, it's hard to commit to new goals once life becomes hectic again. This is why we love the Marie Kondo style of "tidying up." In early 2019, Netflix premiered "Tidying Up", a show about organizing and cleaning out your home with a purpose. The idea, introduced by Marie Kondo, was that if you minimalized the items in your living space, your entire life would feel less cluttered. If you watched the show, you probably either convinced yourself it wouldn't work for you, or you tried it and loved it. Now, as we head into the last few months of the year, we think it would be beneficial to revisit the importance of tidying up and where to even begin. With holidays on the horizon, preparing your home for additional guests and decorations could save you stress down the road.

How Do I Start?

Have you ever started to clean out a closet and thought, "I bet I'll be done in no time?" Then four hours and a million bent hangers later you realize that you might be in over your head. Yeah... Us too. According to Marie Kondo, there is a specific way to clean out your home that will increase productivity without overwhelming you. So, what is her magic method to this madness? Commit yourself to tidying up. If you're only willing to spend an hour tidying, then now might not be the time to start. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Very few people we know welcome chaos and clutter into their lives. If you're interested in a stress-free life, that begins in the home. Think about it. If you wake up only to find there are no clean towels, the shirt you needed to wear is wrinkled on the floor, and you can't remember where you left your coffee mug, this isn't a great way to begin your day. Finish discarding first. (Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.) This probably isn't something you've ever done before. A large part of why Marie Kondo has found success in letting go is a result of being thankful for the time you had with the item and realizing it has served its purpose. Tidy by category, not location, and follow the right order. More on this later. Ask yourself if it "sparks joy." We're all victims to item guilt. Those moments of, "I might fit into these jeans again someday," or the countless days in the garage saying, "The kids will play with those pool toys one day." The Marie Kondo way of living prompts you to ask if the item is bringing joy in your current situation. Does this item bring you enough to joy to keep around, or are you hanging on to it just in case?

Categories to Tackle

As we mentioned above, Marie Kondo recommends organizing and discarding items by category, not location. This will make it easier to compartmentalize your items and prioritize what you actually need. The five categories of importance are:
  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
  5. Sentimental Items


We begin here because most people have more than enough clothing and tend to attach sentiment into these pieces. To begin, gather every item you own into one spot on the floor. (Don't panic.) This is a great way to visualize just how much you have. Make a different pile for each person in your home, then begin sorting through your things. It's important that you're able to touch each piece of clothing as you come to terms with what is needed and what is cluttering your space. She also recommends a specific style of folding that allows you to see all the items you have while saving you space.


Once your closets and drawers are in better shape, it's time to move on to books. This can be anything from cookbooks to magazines. Gather everything into one pile and begin making decisions.


The third category is a little odd. You might think, wouldn't toys or blankets or anything else be a more prominent category in your house? Maybe for you. However, you might be accidentally storing more than you need to. Kondo recommends splitting your papers into three sub-categories.
  • Deal with now (letters to respond to)
  • Keep for a limited time (papers or articles to study for work or school)
  • Store indefinitely (birth certificates, insurance policies, mortgage documents, tax returns, etc.)

Komono (Misc. Items)

Now on to just about everything else. These are items that aren't big enough to take up a lot of space, but over time, they can quickly add up and take over your home. She breaks this category up into the following sub-categories:
  • CDs, DVDs
  • Skincare products & Makeup
  • Accessories
  • Valuables
  • Electrical items
  • Household equipment
  • Household supplies
  • Kitchen goods/food supplies
  • Other (e.g., spare change)
As you continue to go through these categories, keep in mind the importance of the process. Ask if the item sparks joy. If yes, then keep it. If not, throw it away or donate it.


The final category may be the hardest. Take time to go through items and remember that memories in your mind and heart are more important than the physical items you keep. Are you ready to tackle the Marie Kondo way of organizing? Finish out your year strong by tidying up your home, and inevitably, your life. For more tidying up inspiration, check out our Pinterest board. For more information on owning the home of your dreams, contact a Mortgage Advisor today.
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